Since the fall of the Wall, Berlin is drawing people from all over the world. They are not only coming to enjoy its diverse cultural history, art and party scene but to stay and live in the German capital. The increase in population is only one reason for the brisk construction activity in the last 30 years. Nowhere else in Europe are there so many building projects as in Berlin. By 2018 the record sum of 23.6 billion euros got invested into new constructions.
One of them is “WAVE waterside living berlin”, a finalist at the 2020 Mipim Awards in the category “Best Residential Projects”. In 2019 WAVE has been completed by the Munich-based developer Bauwerk. Being located on the north bank of the River Spree in Berlin’s Osthafen between the districts of Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain and Treptow, the concept for the new buildings derived from the particular qualities of its waterside location.
The water element, an unobstructed view and the interface of the urban centre and an authentic neighbourhood is what makes WAVE’s location an offer that has become a rarity in Berlin. The Spree is the inspiration for the design – GRAFT architects have done everything possible to give the water center stage, with the residents as the audience. WAVE’s exterior shape was designed in such a way that 70 percent of the apartments have spectacular views of the Spree. The sunlight that is reflected in the waves are brought inside through the entirely glass clad façade. The unmistakable trademark of soft lines and stringent shapes perfectly unite the boundaries of architecture and the outside world, of buildings and water.
By facing out over the water towards the iconic “Molecule Men” landmark, WAVE avoids the typical inward-looking hermetic privacy of many recent residential projects. At its centre, the riverside path widens to form a small square together with gardens and a jetty alongside the Spreepromenade.
By not building along the waterfront and pairing the inner side wings, the two buildings form a continuous architectural figure. The soft curving lines of the south-facing elevation give the facade a sculptural, eroded amorphous figure that echoes the narrative qualities of its waterside location in the building’s fluid architectural form. The design of the ensemble springs from this conceptual idea as well as its accommodation of the social requirements of the neighbourhood.
The north-facing elevation presents a contrasting facade to the urban grain of the quarter that picks up the clear rectangular geometry of the turn-of-the-century Gründerzeit buildings along the Stralauer Allee. Bay windows to the north enhance the apartments’ floor plans and afford views of Berlin’s iconic Fernsehturm. The resulting geometric articulation of the facade mediates between the urban street facade and the open, sculptural quality of the waterfront.
The two residential buildings incorporate a range of apartment types and sizes from studios to luxury penthouses to create a stimulating and diverse social mix appropriate to the potential target groups and the location.
The roof is conceived as a “fifth facade” for communal use with rooftop allotment gardens, terraces and playgrounds for both public and private-communal activities. The green courtyard gardens in the communal forecourt adjoining the waterside promenade create an open, green space in the heart of the city in which residents and neighbours can come together.
Altogether WAVE is an extraordinary residential project in terms of architectural uniqueness and housing concepts. Make sure to vote for it until September 11, 2020.